Lankford On The Loose

Oklahoma’s U.S. Rep. James Lankford is fast becoming a prominent national figure associated with bizarre comments that reflect his bigotry and often an overall absence of anything remotely resembling reasoned thought.

He’s now a disaster for Oklahoma’s image on a national level. You want to convince businesses to relocate here? Forget the tax cuts. Just get Lankford and, in fact, the entire Oklahoma congressional delegation to play the quiet game.

So is Lankford—the fifth-ranking Republican in the House—the relatively new face of the national GOP, spouting the old, conservative ideological clichés that eventually ensured President Barack Obama’s recent reelection? This much is for sure: When Lankford rambles on during local town halls, there’s no telling what bizarre idea will escape from his mouth.

In a recent Oklahoma City town hall, Lankford, who represents the 5th congressional district, let loose with a rambling statement that associated gun violence with “welfare moms,” the overmedication of their kids and Social Security disability checks. Here’s a ThinkProgress piece on the issue. Here’s what Lankford said in response to a question about guns and children taking psychotropic drugs:

LANKFORD: I agree with that. I think there’s a bunch of issues that, quite frankly, most liberals are afraid to talk about. [...] Where are we on all those psychiatric drugs? We’ve overmedicated kids. Quite frankly some of the overmedication of kids are because welfare moms want to get additional benefits and if they can put them on SSI through maintenance drugs, they can also put them on Social Security disability and get a separate check. That is wrong on every single level. Not only is it fraudulent to the government, but it also tells a kid with great potential, “don’t try because you’re disabled.”

See if you can follow the logic on that one. Is it this: “Welfare moms” overmedicate their kids to get more money and their kids then get guns and shoot people? Does that make any sense in any universe? Is he even talking about gun violence at this point or just dissing “welfare moms.” It’s also like saying “welfare moms” and their overmedicated kids are responsible for air pollution or arctic ice melting at a record pace or the Iraq War.

As if that wasn’t weird enough, Lankford also went on a rant at the town hall about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community (LGBT) in response to a question posed by none other than state Rep. Sally Kern, an Oklahoma City Republican. Kern, of course, is notorious throughout the country for her hateful views and bizarre, paranoid philosophy about gay people.

In what has to be one of the weirdest exchanges in the history of town halls everywhere, Kern brings up a local December drug awareness conference targeted at the LGBT community, which was government sponsored, and claims “98 percent [of it] is doing indoctrination or pushing the homosexual agenda.” The statement about indoctrination alone seems like a basic lie, especially given the source, but Lankford wasn’t going to let it deter him from taking it even further.

Here’s what he said in response:

LANKFORD: Oh yes, sure. You know I can absolutely get a chance to take a look at it. We’ll start the process, try to see what we can do to identify it. Some of those things you have the power of humiliation where you can raise it and put in sunlight. They love functioning in the dark. You put some sunlight on it, that does help. But, we’ll see. I’m glad to take that on.

The power of humiliation? What does that mean exactly? Humiliate gay people? Humiliate people who want to help gay people who need substance abuse help? What is the point of humiliating anyone? Functioning in the dark? Who is functioning in the dark? Is there even a reason to apply logic here? No, I don’t think so.

Of course, anytime Lankford and Kern engage in a public discussion, something freaky is bound to happen, as The Lost Ogle points out, but Lankford is now cementing his reputation as a hateful ideologue and a loose cannon, which is definitely NOT a good thing for Oklahoma’s national image or whatever is left of it at this point.